Damon Albarn Debuts Pretty Tune From New Opera

Albarn performs on the BBC.
Kevin O'Donnell

With his cartoon act Gorillaz on break following the worldwide tour for Plastic Beach, mastermind Damon Albarn is focusing on his next project: an ambitious rock opera titled Dr. Dee, which chronicles the life and times of Queen Elizabeth I's chief medical and scientific adviser. Albarn premiered one of the piece's tunes, titled "Apple Carts," for the BBC. Check out the performance here.

Backed by a cellist and acoustic guitarist, Albarn delivers a spare, gorgeous lullaby that showcases his high, mournful tenor. Of course, his lyrics befit the scholarly subject of the opera, as he offers up a mysterious tale of a "kingdom of the broken hearts" where "the blackbirds sing and the moon is stark."

The production, co-written by British theater veteran Rufus Norris, will debut July 1 at Manchester's International Festival in England.

WATCH: Damon Albarn, "Apple Carts"

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